"Over the Top" Trench Warfare Header
Blank Menu Bar

Shawnee County Casualties in WWI
Stories of Valor and Tragedy on the Battlefield

Sgt. Alfred Grant BAKER, A Co., 110th Engineers, 35th Division
Alfred Baker headstone
Sgt Alfred Baker

Return to: Stories

Killed in action 29 Sept 1918 by a direct hit from a high explosive shell, in the area southeast of the Bois de Montrebeau, along the Baulny ridge just south of Chaudron Farm in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive.

Sergeant A. G. Baker was one of 3 brothers serving at the same time in France. Alfred with the 110th Engineers of the 35th Division and the other two brothers, both also holding the rank of Sergeant, were with the 130th Field Artillery of the same Division.

Thomas H. Bruce wrote to his father in Topeka (TDSJ Nov 16, 1918) and included the following in his letter:

"I am sorry to say that quite a few of our friends were buried on the battlefield and a larger number are in hospital. Our outfit went over the top with the first bunch and were in the thick of it for five long rainy days before we were relieved. I went to the hospital a week ago today on account of gas and shell shock. A six inch high explosive struck about ten feet in front of me and when I heard it coming I dropped on my face in a shell hole and it smashed the tin lid and tore my pack to bits and outside of taking all my blouse but the sleeves and throwing me about twenty feet, it didn't bother me much. The same shell killed Sergeant Baker, Rogers, two infantrymen, broke Lloyd Wardin's leg, injured Leroy Anderson and seven other men who were in our skirmish line."

In the book Joe's War by Joseph N. Rizzi there is the following passage about this incident (page 105):

"About 11 o'clock, Tex, our Company Top, Lieutenant Hanley, Sergeant Baker and Sergeant Caywood were together. A shell hit right in their midst. It killed Lieutenant Hanley, Tex and Baker instantly, and broke Sergeant Caywood's leg."

The names, except for Baker's, are different but the account essentially the same as regards the men being hit directly by a high explosive shell.

In the short booklet "History of the Original Company "A", 110th Engineers" there is the following passage:

"Major Stayton took the two battalions up to the ridge south of Chaudron Farm and indicated the general position on the forward slope. As soon as they were observed, the German artillery opened up with a vicious fire. The major indicated he thought it was a poor line. Up ahead a German observation tower in plain view ... how the men did dig to get under cover ... Lieutenant Hanley, Lieutenant Dingelstedt, Joseph J. "Tex" Owens, Alfred G. Baker, William V. Collins, Annas Guillion, Charles T. Jessup, Paul D. Adamson, Fred Norris, Harold N. Rogers, Robert S. Thurman, Eben W. Parks, Harold D. Thurman and Philias I. Gagne killed in action, (others who died from their wounds) Roscoe England, Sid Eberhardt, John Light, and Walter C. Janney. The wounded too many to mention included Orlin Hudson, Lieutenant Gaw and McCarty gassed. We were woefully short of officers."

Chaudron Farm & Montrebeau Woods

Select on above photo to see larger image

Map of 110th Engineers defensive line north of Chaudron Farm
Map from "The Sante Fe Trail Leads to France" by Edward Rankin, Jr.

Alfred Grant Baker is buried at Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery, Romagne, France Plot D, Row 43, Grave 16.

In 1930 Mrs. Lucina L. Baker, then relocated to Los Angeles in California, applied, as part of the U.S. Government's program of the WWI Mother's Pilgrimage, to visit her son's grave in France.

Return to: Stories

Copyright © 2008-2017